Amari Cooper has been playing hurt for most of the season, but he may have suffered a more serious injury on Thursday night in the Cowboys’ 26-15 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Cooper was injured midway through the fourth quarter after taking a helmet to the knee from Buffalo DB Taron Johnson. He finished the game with eight catches for 85 yards and will get an x-ray on his knee Friday to learn the extent of the damage.
Fantasy owners can ill afford to lose one of their top scoring threats this time of year. So what happens if Cooper misses extended time? What should Cooper owners do? How about non-Cooper owners?
The next man up in Dallas’ receiving corps is Michael Gallup. He’s owned in the vast majority of leagues, so you likely won’t be able to add him. However, his stock doesn’t get an immediate major boost. With tough matchups against the Bears and Kyle Fuller, plus the Rams and Jalen Ramsey on tap, any value gained by becoming the No. 1 option is negated by the better defenders he’ll have to face. He’ll continue to be a WR2.
Randall Cobb has been a trendy pickup in recent weeks, but is still available in the majority of leagues. He’ll likely see a boost in production or at least a return to the 7-to-8 targets per game that he was getting before the Buffalo game. Cobb was averaging 7.5 targets and five catches per game in Dallas’ four post-bye games before getting just three targets against the Bills on Thanksgiving. His 3/53/0 game would be his floor with Cooper out. He’d be somewhere in the WR3 range.
Tight end Jason Witten would get a small boost as well. He caught his first touchdown since Week 2 on Thanksgiving and could be looked to a little more often as a check-down option.
There are no other real fantasy options on the Cowboys’ roster. Tavon Austin had five targets on Thursday but has never been a reliable fantasy option. He only has two games this season with more than one target. The odds you’d feel confident starting him during the fantasy playoffs are extremely slim. The same can be said for Devin Smith, who could find himself on the active game day roster for the first time since Week 4. He showed promise earlier this season in back-to-back games against the Redskins and Dolphins, but has only been active for one game since. Ventell Bryant caught a 15-yard touchdown against the Bills, but that was his first catch and target of the season.
Let’s hope Cooper’s injury isn’t serious and fantasy managers don’t have to scramble to replace him. If he is injured, Gallup stays put, Cobb moves up and Witten gets a slight boost in their rankings. Otherwise, be sure to check out our Monday and Tuesday waiver wire articles for other replacement options.
More Advice From SI Fantasy:
—Our early rankings give the Top 10 at every position for Week 13
—Jaime Eisner’s waiver wire pickups: Ryan Tannehill, Rashaad Penny and more
—Frankie Taddeo’s droppables, with some big-name players you shouldn’t feel bad about cutting
—Bill Enright’s injury report takes a look at who is out how long
—Frankie Taddeo’s Week 12 Superlatives dish out awards for last week